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Hacker attempt transferring $125,000 from Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority


Police have been investigating an attempt by the hackers to illegally transfer around $125,000 from the payroll and checking accounts of Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority (MRRA). MRRA oversees revitalization of the Brunswick Landing, former Naval base and at present Brunswick Executive Airport.


Steve Levesque, MRRA executive director, said on Friday (i.e. on January 25, 2019) that hackers have made an attempt to withdraw $25,000 from one payroll account and $100,000 from an account at the Bath Savings Institution. Levesque further added that a third party hacked the email systems of the redevelopment authority on December 2018. Then, Bath Savings Institution was approached by that third party for a "false shift of funds". But, Levesque said that bank's safeguards requires his (i.e. MRRA executive director's) verification, and a follow-up call for confirmation.


"The way it works is, if we request a transfer of funds, my CFO Jeff [Jordan] sends the bank an email and then I have to confirm it, and they follow up with a phone call," said Levesque from a Florida trade show. "[The bank] got an email that didn't look right, and we said, 'No, we didn't request that'". He added that their efforts were thwarted system by the checks and balances system.


Levesque said that the hackers got into redevelopment authority's emails, and then were able to found an email in which the redevelopment authority had requested for a transfer and Levesque confirming it. He added that "they were able to try to replicate that with the bank," however good news is that was an unsuccessful attempt.


This is for the first time that redevelopment authority was getting targeted by hacker, said Levesque. The employees of MRRA have changed the passwords since then. Moreover, the MRRA has also set up a new checking account.


"I hope we can catch the scoundrel," Levesque added. The redevelopment authority turned over the details to police, who Levesque said were working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).


FBI reported that their Internet Crime Complaint Center have received over 300,000 complaints in the year 2017, with reported losses of over $1.4 billion.


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